Monday, July 11, 2011

The Kindling Theory Of Bipolar Disorder

If you want to start a fire you need kindling in the form of a flammable material in order to light the main fuel of the fire, and create a long lasting fire.  The more kindling that occurs, the faster and stronger the fire will grow, and it will be harder to put out.  What exactly does this have to do with Bipolar Disorder?  This is the idea behind the Kindling Theory of Bipolar Disorder.  This theory is based on the idea that a stressful situation leads to the first bipolar episode whether it be manic or depressive.  The Bipolar Disorder starts growing like the kindled fire, and if it is not treated more episodes will occur making the bipolar episodes more frequent and also more severe.  The kindling theory would help to explain why bipolar episodes get worse over time.  It would also explain why many people with Bipolar Disorder have less severe symptoms before their first major episode.  However, it fails to explain why some people can go into remission for extended periods of time before their next episode.  It also fails to explain why people who are treated early would go on to have severe episodes.  In my opinion, the kindling theory explains some aspects of Bipolar Disorder, but not everything.  If the kindling theory is even partly correct, it is a major reason to push for more awareness and early diagnosis's of Bipolar Disorder because the longer the time before the bipolar diagnosis, the harder the Bipolar Disorder will be to treat.  On average, people with Bipolar Disorder are properly diagnosed 10 years after their first symptoms.  


  1. makes sense to me. it took major traumatic events closely spaced to trigger my "break" that finally led me to the bipolar diagnosis. Thank goodness it happened.

  2. I have never heard of this theory before. Personally once a episode happens and isn't taken care of or treated it just gets harder to bring down until it out of nowhere remissions itself. They also, have the other part right don't know when the next one is coming but i also have rapid-cycle bipolar so its like Russian roulette sometimes never know when or where. Diagnosis was after a severe episode unluckily.

  3. I have been living with bi-polar disorder since 14 years old. I will honestly say this is very true I had a very bad childhood and over the years it has effected my mental status. I have done the ultimate no-no by trying to live a normal life with our meds and that has total backfired. The worse my stress the worse my mental status and being bi-polar you really can not control the range of your emotions. I wish that they would be able to do better research to help instead of meds.

  4. for me i had a traumatic event when i was 19
    i got severely depressed for 2 years.
    was fine for a couple of years after that.
    then i became hypo-manic for 22 weeks till i was hospitalised and given antipsychotics.

    in the time leading up to the hypomanic episode i hadnt had any stressful situations or events but the huge depression id had was more like logs then kindling